Moros ‘tired of waiting’ for new law: MILF leader

Christian V. Esguerra, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 13 2018 04:19 PM | Updated as of Mar 13 2018 07:55 PM

MANILA - Moro leaders sat down with the group drafting a new federal constitution Tuesday, warning of the growing frustration in the south over the delay in the implementation of a 2014 peace agreement.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) briefed the consultative committee on a proposed law creating a new territory and government in the Bangsamoro.

Moros, Christians and indigenous peoples alike in the Bangsamoro are "tired of waiting" for the implementation of the peace accord, said Ghazali Jaafar, who headed the committee that drafted the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

"Precisely, ito ang nangyari, ang dahilan yung iba na dating kasama namin (this is what happened, why the others left), they bolted from us, and now they are fighting with us because they’re frustrated, so to speak, with the way the government is handling the negotiation," he told the consultative committee.

Jaafar described the BBL as "the most civilized and peaceful way" to end the conflict in Mindanao.

"What the Moros, the people of the region, need now is the implementation of the (peace) agreement."

The proposed law grants greater power, autonomy, and resources to the Bangsamoro, but questions have been raised whether all these could be done under the present constitution.

FED UP

Former Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr., a member of the committee, said the election only of members of the Bangsamoro parliament, not the executive, would run counter to the constitution. 

Under the proposal, it’s the parliament that will pick a chief minister.

"You cannot do anything asymmetrical unless the constitution allows it," Pimentel said. 

"My point is this. This can be remedied. This is one of the things I want refined so there will no longer be any questions."

Jaafar said the BBL would allow the Bangsamoro to "take care of ourselves."

"We are fed up, to be truthful to you. Ayaw na namin sa corruption, ayaw na namin sa nepotism, sa lahat ng bagay na sa paniniwala namin ay nagiging dahilan bakit di umuunlad ang lugar ng mga Muslim,” he said.

(We are tired of corruption, of nepotism, of all the things that, in our belief, hold back progress in the Muslim homeland.)

"So we must appeal to all of you na bigyan na ng pagkakataon ang mga Moro, ang mga Muslim para kahit paano makahabol in terms of progress and development with the rest of our brothers in Luzon and the Visayas."

(We appeal to all of you to give the Moros a chance so that we can catch up with the rest of our brothers in Luzon and the Visayas in terms of progress.)